PRO

by Nicole Compton

With the increasing amount of gun violence in this country, it is difficult for me not to be a supporter of government gun control.  A statistic was released stating that every day 80 American die from firearms.  Roughly 16,272 murders were committed in the United States during 2008, and about 67% of these were committed with firearms.  The Second Amendment does not need to be repealed, but the right to bears arms needs to be re-evaluated to match the realities of modern society.  Some would argue that measures to control the use of guns are already in place, but I am advocating additional regulations that would make it more difficult for people to obtain guns. The first critique against gun control would be the presence of the Second Amendment; however, I would like to point out that the Second Amendment was created in a very different time and for reasons that no longer pertain to present-day society.  The Founding Fathers created the Second Amendment when most of the country was unpopulated.  Many people only had a gun to protect themselves. Hunting was also more popular, not only for entertainment but also as a source of food.  Now, with a decreased need for hunting, it should be more difficult for one to possess guns today.  I also do not understand why some feel they need to possess a gun for their own protection.  The fact that they feel the need for a gun proves my point that guns should be regulated more closely.  If people weren’t afraid of others with guns, there would be not need for guns as a source of self-protection.  I especially do not see the rationale behind semi-automatic weapons being necessary in American homes.  Handguns or rifles are one thing, but the abundance of more powerful weapons has become absurd, causing gun advocates to lose what credibility they had.  I am not criticizing the Second Amendment, but rather stating that different times call for different measures.
States have the power to determine specific regulations on which guns are prohibited and where “open carry” is permitted.  Although most states have guidelines for those who possess guns and perform background checks before issuing permits, gun violence has not decreased.   The Second Amendment does not need to be repealed, but rather gun control should be taken to the federal level, not the state, in order for it to have any real impact. 
The best evidence to persuade those who do not favor gun control would be to highlight the recent horrific events in this country because of guns. These recent events should make every citizen at least start to consider tougher gun control laws.  Criminals or the mentally unstable will find a way to obtain a weapon as long as there are ways for others to do so.  The Arizona shooting, the recent incident of two children being killed by their mother in Florida and the increasing number of teen suicides and armed robberies all display concrete evidence as to the danger of faulty gun regulation. Jared Loughner, the Arizona shooter, would not have been able to kill the people he did a month ago if it had been more difficult for him to buy a gun.  The mother in Florida would not have been able to kill their children out of rage, it a background check had been done to identify her emotional instability,  The number of guns possessed by citizens needs to decrease to reduce unnecessary violence.  A man’s right to hunt and “protect himself” needs to be reconsidered to help save the lives that are being ended by gun violence every day.

CON

by Natalie Tecimer

Thirty-four percent of United States households have a gun. About one hundred million people in the country have a gun in their homes. Yet, the war against guns continues.
Yes, a gun can be bought to kill. However, there is a bigger reason why guns are important. Here is an interesting statistic to consider: sixty percent of felons polled agreed that criminals will not “mess around” with victims that are armed with guns. A gun’s purpose is also to provide self defense; the threat of its presence may even be enough to ward off aggressors.
Guns are often used by mentally unstable people who choose to commit homicide or suicide most likely because they offer a quick and easy death. If guns are removed from the home, the homicide and suicide rates will not decline; people will just find other weapons.
The National Rifle Association has gun-safety programs, such as the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program, in which kids are taught what to do if they find a gun. In the Eddie Eagle program, four easy steps are presented by the child friendly Eddie Eagle. The steps are as follows: stop, don’t touch, leave the area, and tell an adult. Guns are necessary for self defense, will not change homicide and suicide risks, and have a very low percent of fatal accidents.
Gun control is a violation of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. This amendment to the states that people have the right to keep and bear arms, yet basic rights of U.S. citizens are being taken away through gun control. William Caffrey, a speaker on the gun debate, claims that most people who “advocate gun control also advocate intrusive laws.” Supporters of gun control have proposed searches in houses as well as extensive background checks. This is an invasion of privacy, and it goes against the Fourth Amendment of the constitution, the right to have  protection against unreasonable search or arrest. Forbidding people the right to bear arms goes would lead to a further reduction of the individual rights of U.S. citizens.
In crisis situations, civilians need guns to stop crimes and to ensure that the criminals are not the only ones armed. When civilians are armed, they are able to thwart a criminal’s attempt at firing a shot and possibly murdering an innocent person.  This scene also portrays a major reason of why people buy guns: for self-defense. In January of 2002, a Virginian Law Student killed three, but was stopped from killing more by two students who retrieved guns from their cars. The law-abiding students remained unarmed long enough for three people to be killed.  Because it is illegal in most states including Virginia to carry a concealed weapon, the students had to keep their guns away from the school as required by law, and  if they had been carrying weapons on the scene, perhaps there would have not been any fatalities. In the case of the homicide at Virginia Tech, a gunman shot and killed thirty-three because “there were not enough people carrying guns to neutralize the gunman once he began his rampage,” as stated by a member of the Future of Freedom Foundation. The only man walking around with a concealed weapon was the gunman, who had even obtained a permit for his gun.
It would simply be impossible to get rid of guns completely, and that action would also risk security. The common man has the right to keep and to bear arms. He has this right for the safety of himself and others.

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